Do not for one instant construe this blog post as in any way even the slightest defense of the heinous bigotry of white (or any race) supremacy. I vehemently reject and disavow ALL forms of bigotry, race based and otherwise. The topic of this post is the moral blindness of the leftist righteous mind and the insidious double standard that infects WEIRD Western Culture.
Trump is a boor. His language is inarticulate and clumsy. He doesn’t fit the mold of the suave elite sophisticate – the handsome and glib JFK type who seemed to always have the exact right thing to say on the tip of his tongue and had no trouble articulating it – we like to expect our leaders to be, and which, it seems, most people thought Obama actually was.
I can relate. I’m no Hemingway. Even in my writing, where, as opposed to my even worse extemporaneous speaking, I have the time to try to craft my words with nuance and subtlety, I often feel clumsy, awkward, and frustrated by my inability to come up with the elegant prose that nails the sentiment I’m struggling to express.
My interests, and my college major, back when we used to do our calculations with slide rules and carve our homework into stone tablets, were in engineering and science, not literature. The engineering curriculum leaves little room other than for minimum requirements for graduation for topics like those. I’m part nerd, part geek, part socially awkward Sheldon Cooper. I’m not an eloquent high IQ type like most pundits. There are reasons many pundits are public figures and folks like me are not. This is one of them.
But let me ask you this: Have you forgotten that the suave, smooth, sophisticated Obama not only tacitly, but actively supported the innate racism of Black Lives Matter, and never disavowed his ACTUAL association with despicable race-baiters and America haters like Reverend Wright, or the underhanded and disingenuous community organizer tactics of Saul Alinsky that he proudly, PROUDLY, took to heart? Have you forgotten that he, and Hillary, and the Democratic Party in general, not only for the eight years of his presidency, but for decades, has normalized and institutionalized the leftist catechism that white working class neanderthal rubes living in flyover country are “clingers” and “deplorables”?
Are you familiar with the Harry Potter character of Professor Delores Umbridge, the woman in pink who presented to the world the aura of cotton candy sweetness and light, but who was, underneath the veneer, in fact despicably evil? For anyone who loves and intuitively understands America and her founding principles THAT was Obama and Hillary, and has been the Democratic Party in general since Woodrow Wilson and the progressive era, if not longer.
Here’s the thing. Social science shows that the left’s opinion of non-leftists says far more about the left’s moral myopia and infantile cognitive style than it says about the “others” they so obviously hate. Here’s R. R. Reno’s summary of the current cutting edge of social science findings which Haidt described in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
Thus the profound problem we face. Liberalism is blind in one eye yet it insists on the superiority of its vision and its supreme right to rule. It cannot see half the things a governing philosophy must see, and claims that those who see both halves are thereby unqualified to govern.
Leftism is insidious: operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect. It is hate and destruction behind a façade of suave “enlightened” sophistication and “care.” Pay no attention to the hater behind the curtain.
But precisely BECAUSE of that veneer, and the “good intentions” of Obama, the Democratic Party and liberal “care,” they all get a pass.
Yesterday, in the wake of the events in Charlottesville and Trump’s reaction to them, Larry Sabato tweeted his righteous indignation against Trump, saying:
President Trump, you weren’t there on Fri @UVA. I was. I saw hundreds of NEO-NAZIS right out of 1930s Germany. Sir, you are hopeless.
To which I responded with three tweets:
Larry were you in Berkely? Were you in Middlebury? Were you in DC? Violent thuggery is a defining trait of leftist psychology.
You sir are intellectually dishonest and a moral hypocrite.
Larry you are worse than hopeless. Your specious dishonesty is part of the problem. You should feel ashamed and embarrased: humiliated.
Jonathan Haidt sprang to Sabato’s defense, tweeting
Larry Sabato is a non-partisan political scientist who loves politics and America. I came to know and admire him at UVA.
To which I replied with the following series of five tweets:
I believe you. But his mass hysteria of seeing everything Trump does in the worst possible light while whistling past the graveyard…
…of hate and bigotry by the left has snowballed into lemming-like group-think mass insanity.
Antifa are every bit as bigoted, hate filled, and evil as white supremacists but for some reason this fact seems invisible.
People like Sabato are precisely the ones who should know better and be the cooler heads that prevail.
But no, they pile on to the mass hysteria bandwagon, and because people like Sabato are who they are, in the end views like his exacerbate.
In my experience Sabato and Haidt are measured, balanced, evidence-based, fair, and reasonable commentators on the political scene. They have a generosity of spirit and a tendency toward the benefit of the doubt toward others. They have greater ability than most in the art of active listening. They mostly forgive rhetorical missteps and try their best to see and hear what’s in a person’s heart. .
But when it comes to Trump they and countless others, from my personal perspective, seem to lose that generosity of spirit and that talent for active listening. They don’t look into his heart the way they do with others. They don’t listen for understanding. They DO listen for refutation. They DO pounce on his rhetorical missteps, and ask themselves “CAN I believe Trump is horrible?” and of course, they answer themselves with a resounding “Yes.” And then they tweet about it.
And they ALSO seem to believe in the sacred sin of racist bigotry I described this blog post, while at the same time they seem to look past the equally vile ideological bigotry of antifa.
I’ll stipulate Trump’s rhetorical clumsiness. I sometimes cringe when I hear the things he says. But I heard what he said, and there’s just no way an intellectually honest active listener can come away with the impression that he condones bigotry in any form, actively or tacitly, as Obama and the Democrats actually did and still do. .. .
This double standard of seeing some types of hateful bigotry as sacred sins and other types of equally hateful and harmful bigotry as merely “protests” is itself disgusting, and plays a central role in current partisan divisiveness. Yet it seems to be an “entrenched yet questionable orthodoxy” of current WEIRD Western culture.
I think the “gotcha” mentality and the sacred value of the artificial veneer of elitist sophistication has infected the entire culture. I see it as part and parcel with the WEIRD rationalist delusion that arguably is THE core essence of who and what Western culture has become. It’s rider against rider to the death, where riders are like parasites that destroy the host elephants which are left heartbroken by their powerlessness to stop the carnage.
This quote by David Hume as far as it goes, has been proved correct by social science:
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
But it doesn’t go far enough. This summary of sentiments expressed by Einstein more closely captures what I’m convinced is actually going on in Western Culture:
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
If evolution happened at both the individual level and at the group level as Haidt argues that it does in The Righteous Mind, then so do the traits of our righteous minds. Entire groups act like individuals and throw truth and reason under the bus in defense of their sacred values. None more so than the WEIRD Platonic rationalists of the leftist righteous mind.
Our WEIRDness is quite literally killing us. The idea that a pithy “gotcha” quip, or emotional reasoning, or the suave sophistication of slick and articulate politicians, or the worship of the rational mind, or the so-called “care” of leftist ideologies, count as actual arguments, in the final analysis, actually suppresses, prevents, the better angels of the sacred gift of our intuitive minds from emerging.
This is the price we are paying for the worship of WEIRD leftist rationalism and insidious “care.”